All The Things

October 25, 2016

Oh haaay.

So many things we should talk about. When you haven’t blogged since May (seriously, May? I am such a slacker), so many things have come up like: Theo almost being a year old, our new favorite drama “This Is Us,” our new least favorite drama The Presidential Election, me going back to work next week, all my opinions on everything, and the fact that I am now a permanent resident of Canada!

We better get started.

So, this guy. What a fella.


Theo is 11 months old and will be walking very soon. He is smiley and funny and very often joyful. He’s a little too needy at times (aren’t we all), and he has a bad habit of throwing all of the food I try to feed him onto the floor, but other than that, he’s the cat’s pajamas. He has about five-ish teeth and enjoys using them to bite me on the hand or leg. He has been known to say Mama and Dada and Achoo when he feels like it. He loves waving, although lately his wave has turned into more of a salute (not in a good way — think Germany in the 30s. Just because he’s blue-eyed and has become blonde, his views have apparently gone wonky).

As many of you probably know, being a mom is weird. It is wonderful and hard and dumb and the best and terrible and beautiful all in about five minutes. I love Theo in a very different and more powerful way than I have ever loved anybody — my instinct is to protect him and care for him and comfort him. But sometimes he also bores me to death because I can only read that book about driving boats and combines across Canada so many times.

I am going back to work on Monday after my year of maternity leave. Seriously, I so appreciate this about Canada. I couldn’t have imagined going back to work when Theo was 6 weeks. I probably would have just stayed home with him, but I know not everyone has that luxury. But after a year, we are so much more settled, and I’m so much more confident in him, and it’ll be good. And to make it even better, I am only working mornings, and Andrew is only working afternoons this year. So we don’t have to do any daycare, we each get to spend quality time with Theo, and we each get to do some things we enjoy at work! I am very grateful for how this has turned out!

Speaking of gratefulness, I became a Canadian permanent resident this month!

We were expecting to have to wait at least another 6 months, but we got approved early. So, just to explain: I am still an American citizen. I am not a Canadian citizen. I am a permanent resident/landed immigrant/have a green card. This means that I am allowed to live and work anywhere in Canada, I have permanent healthcare, I have a normal social security number, etc. I basically can do everything except vote in Canadian elections. I am so happy that this process is done (it took two years and lots of money), but now I am settled and don’t have to stress when I go through customs!

So, I can’t vote in Canadian elections, but I do still get to vote in American ones. Goody. Just a couple of words on the thing we are over: the election. Over it.

I have been pretty vocal on Facebook about my dislike of Trump. I also dislike Clinton and will not vote for her. I don’t trust her, I think she’s a Shady McShadester, and I also hate her position on abortion. The reason I’ve been harsher about Trump is very related to my faith. Many of the Christians I am Facebook friends with are not considering voting for Clinton. But they might consider voting for Trump. I’ve just been so discouraged and frustrated with some leaders in the Christian community who have supported Trump when, if he were a Democrat, they would use every single thing about him (his multiple divorces, his affairs, his language, his bigotry, his sexist behavior, his flip-flopping) as reasons to denounce voting for him. But because they hate Clinton, ignoring all those things or calling them old news (although apparently Bill’s decades-old affairs aren’t old news), seems to be just fine. The hypocrisy astounds me. But, the argument goes, Clinton has done this and that and this as an elected official! True. Don’t vote for her. Trump probably will do this and that and this as an elected official as well. He’s never been one. Don’t give him a chance.

In my mind, both Trump and Clinton go against anything the Bible might have to say about leaders, wisdom, integrity or righteousness in any sense of the word. We are not electing a pastor, but we are electing a leader and can I really trust either of these people to stay true to any of their promises, lead with integrity or represent America well? Answer: no. Now, I know one of them will win. But I honestly don’t see a lesser of two evils here. And I also refuse to vote out of fear. I have been reading through the prophets in the Bible lately, and there is so much about poor leadership, but most importantly, about my responsibility to live a righteous life with the help of the Lord, no matter what the culture around me is doing. He is the one whose holiness I fear. So, I will send in my absentee ballot, and I will choose a presidential candidate, but you better believe it will not be Clinton or Trump. End scene.

Moving on to something that brings us joy instead of gloom: This Is Us!

Is this everyone’s new favorite drama in replacement of Parenthood? If not, it needs to be. As I watched the first episode, I was loving it anyway, but then I got to the end and my mind was blown, and you know how I love me some episodes that remind me (even in the smallest sense) of Lost. It’s just the best of both worlds. Please get to watching.

Well someone is standing up in his crib and acting like it’s the end of the world. (He was sweetly asleep one second ago.) I had better get going.

How are all of you? I will try to blog again before the Ivanka/Chelsea election of 2024.

Love you all!!


An Engaging Announcement

January 26, 2014

You guys! Andrew and I have something we’d like to tell you.

Here’s a hint.


Here’s an even better hint.


Here’s the best hint.


Oh my gosh, you guys. Saturday, January 25 was a crazy, shocking, amazing, beautiful day.

I have been back in Colorado for about a week. I am waiting on my visa (#whatelseisnew), and didn’t plan to see Andrew again until my visa comes through and I move to Red Deer!

On Saturday I decided to go to Denver to hang out with Diana. We had planned to have a relaxing day (Treat Yo Self 2014!), shopping at the mall, getting our nails done, and grabbing dinner. I texted Diana and asked if she’d want to meet me at the mall at around 1:30. She never responded to my text. Rude. (I didn’t realize it was all part of the trickery and deception!)

Anyhoo, I ended up at Diana’s house and then we shopped around in the Highlands, and then we went and got manicures and pedicures. (p.s. ask us about the Broncos coach who was there with us getting a pedicure. Or don’t.) After we got our nails did (that’s right did), we headed over to Park Meadows mall. Diana suggested we go to Anthropologie first because it is my favorite store and it is made of beauty and truth and joy and expensiveness.

I picked out some clothes to try on, and the lady led me back to the fitting room. I opened the door, and this is what I saw.


My boyfriend, who I thought was in Canada, was in the Anthropologie dressing room. Obviously.

I saw him and he said, “I have something else I’d like you to try on instead.” And then he got down on one knee and told me some beautiful things that I made him repeat again later (because of all the shock), and then he asked me to marry him. I think I said yes at some point.


You. Guys.

I was so shocked. And so speechless. And so amazed. Our friends Diana and Andy helped coordinate the entire thing. The Anthropologie employees were all in on it. They had decorated the fitting room with candles and flowers, and champagne and truffles. Everyone knew what was going on except for me. All the stalling, the manicures, the suggestions had all been so that Andrew could surprise me and propose. So amazing.

We are hoping to get married in August, and we are so excited!!!

Andrew and I met Easter of 2012. We sat next to each other at a kitchen table and started talking. He liked the dip I had brought to the potluck. We had no clue that we would connect, and hang out, and talk on the phone, and video chat, and visit, and pay hundreds of dollars to fly back and forth from Canada to the States. Life has been really wonderful and life has been tough at times. We have come a long way in the past year and a half, and overall, we have seen God make a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

The verse that has come to my mind in the past year — the verse that has now become a reality — is this:

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3

Filled with joy! God is good and he has blessed us. We are so grateful.

I think we need a pictorial essay to top off this post. This one is titled, “Mall Madness: Denise and Andrew Got Engaged!!!”

I am starting to realize I’ve just been proposed to.


How are you not in Canada?! What’s happening? Where did this bling come from? We’re in a dressing room!




The Anthropologie folks made this room so beautiful for us!




Andrew’s impression of what I did when the fitting room door opened and he was standing there.


Andy and I are not engaged, but we decided we should take a picture together anyway.


IMG_1882I love this ring.



No one told me I was going to be surprised with an engagement. If they had, maybe I wouldn’t have worn my army jacket? But who knows. I like to make bold fashion choices.


Diana and Andy organized a surprise engagement party with lots of friends from Denver and Colorado Springs!!




Please note the difference in our beautiful descriptions.



I’ve decided I want a teacup piglet petting zoo at the wedding. You’re all invited.



Ok, that is enough already. We’re so excited, guys!!! We are grateful and blessed and thankful for God’s goodness, wonderful family, and supportive friends. We’re also thankful for Anthropologie fitting rooms. New store logo: “The perfect place to commit!” (Just a suggestion, Anthro. If you take it, I’d die for some free bridesmaid dresses in exchange. Thanks!)

Love you all!!

Denise Ruth Morris (soon to be Snyder — that is weird!!)


Well, I am back in Colorado Springs with my beloved Pikes Peak!

Alecia picked me up in Denver yesterday and brought me down to pick up my car. My car begrudgingly greeted me with a “service engine soon” light. Any thoughts on why? Is it because it’s been sitting for two months? Do I need all the oils and transmissions and coolants and things changed?? And will all of that be free? Help.

I got back to Ashley’s, which has been my home base the past few months. She has kindly let me stay with her and use all of her water and electricity and fridge space and TV time.

Also, every time I have come home from a trip, she has done something special to the door of my room to welcome me home. So yesterday afternoon, I was greeted by this.


The Biebs is happy I’m moving to his home country.


I laughed out loud when I saw the door. That Ashley. She’s so clever. And then I opened my door and was blown away with patriotism and that star-spangled banner yet waving.





I died. What a stunning, home-of-the-brave welcome!! Ashley is ah-mah-zing.

I am back to healthy eating, guys! (Let’s count how many times I’ve said that phrase in the last few months. Actually, let’s not.) It’s true this time, though. I can grocery shop and cook and be on it. I made this crustless quiche this morning, and it’s so good and easy. I added garlic and bacon and used the cheddar I had on hand. Low-carb city! Do it now!


Okay, I best be going. I’ve got a lot of streamers to take down in my room. Oh, if any of you need or know someone who needs some freelance work, let me know! My skills include writing stuff, editing things, eating chips, whining, curriculum writing, article writing, blog writing, eavesdropping, etc.

Have a good day!!

I went to Target again … don’t yell at me! Andrew wanted to go. We went insane and just started buying $5 pieces of clothing all over the place. Andrew bought 7,800 hoodies and a plaid shirt. I got a $50 blazer — for $5, guys. Also, here’s a question you might ask me: Did you feel a little embarrassed when the Target fitting room attendant said to you, “Oh, you’re back¬†again?!” Answer: $5.

Umm, I got in trouble from a certain Canadian high school teacher boyfriend yesterday because when I was talking about the polar vortex, I failed to mention how all the schools in the States were closing because of the cold weather but the schools in Red Deer never close for weather because they are hardcore and strong and hearty (calm down). People in Canada go to school in negative a billion temperatures all the time, everyone! It’s true. I was here about a month ago when there was a giant snowstorm and windchills of minus epic proportions and everyone was expected to still ride a tractionless bus to school on roads of sheer ice. Good job, Canada?

Speaking of brave Canadians, when we were at Lake Superior a couple of weeks ago, Andrew was determined to touch the water because he’s done it at all the other great lakes he’s been to. Unfortunately, it was winter and freezing and hypothermic to go anywhere near the lake. But no worries. He simply climbed down an icy ladder, held on to it with his icy fingertips, and dipped his scarf into the icy cold water of doom. He survived.


Today at Starbucks I asked the barista if they had almond milk I could put in my coffee and she gave me a look like I was a crazy hippie who shelters cows at my underground railroad stop on their escape to Portland, while serving them vegan dinners of nutritional yeast and seaweed. Sorry, lady.

Is it still trendy to wear colored tights? What if you are 31? No?

Micah, this is turning into another Supdate. Sup diggity. Sup doubt.

I just bought this CD to help me focus on writing my lesson today. (It’s going well, obviously.) I love The Head and the Heart. They’re coming to Calgary this spring and I will be there with all the bells on, belting out River and Roads in an off-key shout.


So, this lesson I’m supposedly writing is about the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Bible. It is a yearly holiday God wanted the Israelites to celebrate. The holiday lasts for a week and comes in conjunction with Passover. The Israelites were to eat bread without yeast for the whole week as a reminder of how quickly they had to escape from Egypt — there wasn’t even time for their bread to rise! The theme of the lesson has to do with how God redeems us. It is a time to remember and celebrate the Exodus — to be mindful of how God redeemed His people with an outstretched arm. And it reminds me of how Jesus later did the same thing — literally — on the cross. He invites us to repent, to turn from our sin, and to accept His sacrificial gift. When we ask Him, He begins to redeem all that has been broken by sin and the curse in our lives. He is making all things new. It is so so beautiful.

Ok, now that I am inspired, I better get to writing. Go to Target, Red Deer! Toughen up, the States! Start serving almond milk, Starbucks! Thank Jesus for His goodness, everyone!


So, speaking of being culturally sensitive, we probably weren’t on Friday, when Ashley and I threw a party with every Canadian stereotype we could think of.

We had a goodbye party for me, even though I still don’t know when I’m leaving. We, obvi, decided to go with a Canadian theme, which meant red and white, scarves and maple leaves.

It was so cute and my friends were so fun that I think it deserves a pictorial essay. This one we shall title: “Oh, Canada: Denise’s Goodbye Gala.”

Here’s the table, which turned out really well. Mainly because Ashley had lots of red and white stuff to decorate with. Also, it is¬†super fun to stand on a chair and tape 6 million streamers to a wall. Super fun.


America apparently does not have a lot of Canadian-themed things. But I did manage to find some Calgary Flames napkins!


Ashley made this one — culturally insensitive, Ash!


Our food was either red and white or Canadian themed! If you’re looking for a new recipe, the red velvet whoopie pies were really good (and easy!), and the salted caramel krispies were so awesome.


Baked brie with fig jam is not Canadian until you add a maple leaf to it.


This hot bacon swiss dip is not Canadian, but it is the reason Andrew and I started talking the day we met. It is delish and makes people fall in love with you. Guaranteed.


And, of course, poutine. Andrew was surprised when he learned that ordering gravy with your fries is not a thing in America. Umm, no.


We had a board with Canadian trivia. How many provinces does Canada have? Name one of Canada’s territories. What is the average cost of a home in Canada? Name three Canadian actors. (Comment and I’ll give you the answers. Hint: one of our favorite (NOT FAVORITE) Lost actresses is Canadian.)


Alecia got me some Colorado sweatpants so that I never forget where I came from. They are giant on me and not at all flattering — I have worn them every day and I love them so much, and even if you make me go on What Not to Wear, I will never get rid of them.


We set up a photo booth at the party so that everyone could look as foolish as possible. We put in a bit of American and Canadian flair too. Ashley and I represented the countries where we plan to live.




Crazy story. Cara and I met at the gym many years ago. This summer, she caught up on my blog and read that I was in Red Deer, Alberta. A few days later, she was having dinner with her boyfriend, his family, and their cousins who were in town. The cousins live in Canada and they were on their way to Texas to visit family. These cousins happened to live in Red Deer, Alberta. Cara said that she had a friend who was in Red Deer this summer! She told them my name and the name of my boyfriend. These cousins just happened to be the pastor and wife from Deer Park Alliance, Andrew’s church! Small world city. So crazy.



Josh and I dressed up for the party because we’re spiffy like that.


The girls I met in the fall of 2004, when I first came out to Colorado. My best ones.


The party was super fun times, and it was so great to see many friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile. I am so grateful for the time I’ve had in Colorado — I feel like I grew up here. My first apartment, my first new car, my first job, my first time I fell down while running bases at softball (but probably not the last).

Thus concludes the pictorial essay. It is chilly in the Springs today, which means I should probably just wear my Colorado sweatpants all day, right? Right?

Have a good day, friends!

Sean’s Big Day

April 11, 2012

You guys. I’m just ready for the semester to be done, OK? I am tired of homework. And papers. And translations. And not having enough time for Netflix. It is a tough life.

Luckily, I had a break yesterday which means it is pictorial essay time! This week’s essay is titled “Sean’s Big Day: The Musings of a Turquoise Hippo.”

This is my new friend Sean. He is a hippo. His intestines are made of Skittles. Sometimes he likes to go on car rides.

Sean asked if he could spend the day with me and my new Canadian friend Andrew. We said it was fine as long as Sean behaved himself and didn’t make a fuss. Andrew and I hate fusses.

Sean asked if we could watch Friday Night Lights. It is his favorite show. I knew Sean and I could be friends.

Since it was such a beautiful day, Sean asked if we could go to the park. We complied because who doesn’t love a little time in nature?

Sean brought a kite, but because he is so tiny and plastic and not living, he quickly got it stuck in a tree.

This is Sean’s favorite book. It is about making decisions. I think it’s kind of a boring book, but Sean swears by it. He would not stop reading it all day long.

Sean is helping Andrew and me write that devotional I told you about the other day. It’s going to be a bestseller, you guys. So many deep thoughts, so many profound revelations. So many guilt trips.

Sean felt kind of like an attention hog because we were taking pictures of him all day. He asked if he could take a picture of his co-authors. Unfortunately, he’s really bad with the camera.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots more of Sean around the bloggy. He’s kind of an attention hog hippo. I may even bring him to school, you guys, so get excited for that. I’m really hoping he’ll finish out this semester for me because as previously mentioned, I am over it. As in, I missed Aramaic last week because I was sick, and I have not studied for today’s quiz at all. I will be flunking out of seminary within moments.

OK, I’m off to fail some quizzes. Have a sunny Wednesday!